It’s not often that a win over a major champion is a walk in the park.
It proved to be just that for Mark McGrath at the Lakeside. The New Zealander cruised to a 3-0 win over World Masters champion Adam Smith-Neale. With an 81 average, McGrath fired in one 180 and a 14-darter, finishing every other leg in six or seven visits. He whitewashed the Englishman, winning every leg and not even allowing his opponent a shot at a double. Given the context – that Smith-Neale is still recovering from a broken leg and entered the stage on crutches – McGrath’s debut BDO World Championship victory is a little less surprising.
“A win’s a win,” McGrath said in a BDO interview.
“I could feel Adam’s pain, so it was hard work.”
The crowd at the Lakeside, as well as McGrath, watched Smith-Neale take to the stage on crutches. It was something the 50-year-old admitted had affected him. But he was able to go back to basics to ensure that his opponent couldn’t spring a surprise.
“You could see him hobbling up the stairs. Everyone was saying things about (the injury) before the game. So mentally, to get prepared for the game and to play the darts you want to was quite hard,” he admitted.
“I was just saying to myself ‘get down to a double – hit the double’.
“The scoring’s normally the best part of my game, but with no rhythm it was hard to get involved.”
Next up for McGrath is defending back-to-back champion Glen Durrant. The New Zealander hasn’t expended too much energy from his preliminary round tie. It means that he’ll be ready and raring to take on the second seed.
“Glen hasn’t seen what I can do from today. But my doubles are strong, my scoring game’s good.
“Anything can happen!”
Click here for more information about the 2019 BDO Lakeside World Championship.
Author: Ed McCosh